RAINBOW  Prayer Book

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is this about?

The quick answer to most questions is that over twenty-five years I moved from praying the official translation of


     1. THE  LITURGY  of  the  HOURS,

which is the psalms and canticles are readings on the Christian life distributed over five to seven times of prayer each day arranged in a four-week repeating cycle (which was feeling like not enough),



     2. an experiment with the  HINGE  HOURS

of Ordinary Time, Advent, Christmas, and Lent & Easter which was my meditation rendering of the same psalms and canticles and readings on the Christian gathered into the twice each day hinge hours of Morning and Evening Prayer still in the traditional four-week repeating cycle,



     3. ONE  WEEK  in  ORDINARY  TIME,

which was the psalms and cantlicles and readings on the Christian life distributed over five times of prayer each day compressed into a one-week repeating cycle (which was too much),




which was the psalms and canticles and readings on the Christian life distributed over the traditional five times of prayer each day gathered into a two-week repeating cycle (weeks 1 and 3 in the first, and weeks 2 and 4 in the second),




which brings me back to two prayer sessions a day in the morning (dawn) and evening (dusk), with a new meditation rendering with especially LGBTQ+Catholics in mind.

This is what I use today.


Q: Why is it called a "meditation rendering" instead of a translation?
A: Two of the goals behind these prayerbooks might fairly seem contradictory.
     First, I wanted something like a "literal" rendering where the same word is used in English wherever that word appears in Hebrew or in Greek. The official translation approved by the Catholic Church for the Liturgy of the Hours is a beautiful translation for community chanting in monasteries and seminaries. As a parish priest, almost all of my time with the Psalter (the book of Psalms and Canticles) is with the Church universal but alone with God, whether in my room, in the chapel, or in the woods. Praying in Lectio Divina, trying to listen to the Lord, I have found much prayerful fruit in several translations. I doubt that I have accomplished the "literal" rendering I was looking for, limited by cursury study of Greek and no formal study of Hebrew. Perhaps that is the real reason to call the version for Ordinary Time an "experiment."
      Second, as a rendering for meditation and prayer, I made four conscious choices:

     1. For the name YHVH, or Yahweh, the Hebrew word Adonai (ah-duh-nigh') meaning My Lord, is used. In several places the words El or Elyon or Elohim are retrieved, as is Sabaoth instead of Mighty or Hosts.

     2. Following the Christian understanding of one God in the three persons of the Trinity, masculine pronouns for God are avoided.

     3. Except in the traditional Lord’s Prayer and doxology, rather than the Greek Father (pater) the more intimate Aramaic Abba is used (think Dad, Daddy, Papa) as in Mark 14:36. Among my family and friends, no one addresses their Daddy as Father. See also Saint Paul’s use of Abba in Romans 8:15 and Galatians 4:6.

     4. In an admittedly imperfect effort to pray the gospel as well as the psalms, the word enemy is most often rendered as enmity and foes as adversity.

     5. Where people are referred to as evil, the emphasis is shifted to those who do the bad, or ways that are bad.

     6. Since race is a human construct, and we are all members of the one human race, words such as tribe and family are used.

    7. Except when the words righteous and righteousness refer to God, words such as justice, vindication, integrity, and honesty are used following the 1991 Catholic New American Bible translation of the Psalms, my favorite translation.
     There are problems with all of these choices, and these would be reasons to not use this compilation in public liturgy. Still, in my judgment, the benefits as an alternative for private meditation overwhelm the problems.
Q: How are these prayerbooks an "experiment"?
A: This is not the approved order for public liturgy. Certainly neither these arrangements nor my meditation rendering will be helpful for all people.
Q: Who do you think you are to be tampering with the word of God?
A: Who, indeed; a question that has left me with no answer except that I am a baptized follower of Jesus Christ. Any errors in these renderings are entirely my own, and if you find what I have done offensive, I respect that and encourage you to not use it.
     The primary character of these renderings is from the grace of over thirty years of praying with the Psalter.  May the Lord grant more of this grace. And may we all be grateful for all those who do the real work of translating sacred scripture.
Q: What is the story of Dawn & Dusk Rainbow Prayer?
A: When ordained a deacon, one of my promises was to be faithful in praying the prayer of the Church, which includes praying for the Body of Christ, the People of God, through the Liturgy of the Hours (the book itself is often called the "Breviary"). In the seminary days, there was a structure to the day that helped make it natural. 
     One of my regular comments about the life of a parish priest was often quoted back to me: "I'm still waiting for a boring day." I love being a parish priest. But I struggled with fidelity to the promise to pray the full Liturgy of the Hours.  Still, I also discovered a love of the whole book of psalms and of those great songs and poems (which we call "canticles") embedded in the texts of books of prophets and letters from Paul and others.
     Several years ago I scratched out an arrangement of the psalms and canticles for twice a day over four weeks. Many psalms from the Office of Readings are inserted in the front of Morning Prayer, and many psalms and canticles from Daytime Hours and Night Prayer are inserted into Evening Prayer. Some of the repetition of psalms and canticles in the Liturgy of the Hours is minimized in the Hinge Hours series.
     Using that arrangement, I began to pray Morning and Evening Prayer from the Catholic New American Bible and occasionally from several other translations.  Slowly I began to scratch out renderings of the psalms and canticles for meditation.
     That was very fruitful for several years, until I felt again the hunger for more.
Q: Dawn & Dusk Rainbow Prayer is arranged in a two week repeating cycle. How do I know which is the correct week?
A: Whether in Ordinary Time or in a season, simply use Week 1 in the odd-numbered weeks, and use Week 2 in the even-numbered weeks.
    On Ash Wednesday, the first day of the season of Lent, use Wednesday of week II.
    In the season of Christmas, Week I is suggested for weekdays before January 1, and Week II for weekdays after January 1.
    But keep it simple.
More questions?
Stephen Joseph Wolf